Farmers in Idaho weren't happy at losing a crop because a combine shutdown because a sensor failed and it would take 2weeks until a service rep could visit
The US Copyright Office has ruled that, in certain circumstances, folks can legally break a manufacturer's anti-piracy mechanisms – aka digital rights management (DRM) – if they want to repair their own gear. The ruling, issued Thursday, states that from this Sunday onwards "the prohibition against circumvention of …
yeah the John Deere repair fiasco is a lot like Micro-shaft using "software audits" to punish their own customers. when you treat your customers poorly, they'll find ways around you, if they can't (for some reason) get a competing product and tell you to pack sand.
It's the first thing I thought of when I saw the title, the use of DRM to prevent farmers from working on their own tractors. I could see preventing amateur mechanics from working on their own cars as "the next step".
Still, legislation and/or bureaucratic action to create exceptions like this is _STILL_ lipstick on the non-oinky end of the boar. it does NOT fix the fundamental flaws in that stupid 'digital millenium copyright bullshit' law.
Copyright is one of the issues both sides agree on. Hollywood is a major contributor to Democrats who doesn't want to see that well dry up, and lots of other business interests make money from longer and stricter copyright, so the Republicans are on-board too. The lack of opposition is why copyright has been extended practically indefinitely, despite that being blatantly unconstitutional. Robbing the public domain while giving nothing back has been highly profitable for Disney and many other mega media corporations.
I wonder what the definition of "fix" is? "Fixing" something the maker considers to be a feature?
Fix like a poker game? Like an election? Like anything that can have duct tape applied to it? Like a rare imported vehicle where you end up with the thing back together and mostly running and a ziplock bag containing the leftover parts you couldn't work out where went. Fix as in what you do to a cat?
It can be done to a mouse as well. Male ones anyway, uncross your legs chaps. I was once instructed on how to do it, it requires a soldering iron (cauteriser).
Vasectomised male meeces are required for making transgenics and knockouts. Females go into Pseudopregnancy when mated. So you mate females to Vas males to produce ready recipients for your genetically altered eggs/blastocysts.
Some companies will probably try to completely encase the entire circuit board in a heavy layer of potting compound. Some did try about 20 years ago and repair was impossible. So was cooling as the process often covered any cooling vanes. We'll just have to wait and see what happens next in this circus.
Circuit boards are really not something that one repairs* for quite a few decades now. You take the whole part, encased or not, chuck it in the bin, and install the new one - the idea is you should be able to do that without the rest of the machine rejecting the "unauthorized transplant", not that you should absolutely be able to replace a single transistor....
* well I might try, nonetheless, and it's nice to be able to do that; but realistically, that's not how tech is repaired these days - a lot of it isn't repaired in any way at all, full stop.
"Circuit boards are really not something that one repairs* for quite a few decades now. You take the whole part, encased or not, chuck it in the bin, and install the new one - the idea is you should be able to do that without the rest of the machine rejecting the "unauthorized transplant", not that you should absolutely be able to replace a single transistor...."
May I introduce you to Louis Rossman? He's been (sort of) fighting for the right-to-repair movement for some time now (and is a big hater of apple's business practices, which I find hilarious for a number of reasons). He own's a mac based computer repair store in NYC.
However, if you're vehement about your opinion, then may I recommend you get a job at your local Genius Bar? I think you'd fit right in.
I was ready to start banging away at the keyboard to bring Louis Rossman into the picture, but you beat me to it.
What a guy. I've been watching his videos on youtube and some are hilarious, but they all demonstrate the absurdity and sheer bloody-mindedness of Apple.
I love his take on the rogue business that offers to "professionally" dry your liquid damaged circuitry - "Would you prefer a dry bottom? Of course not, you'd want a clean bottom after going to the toilet" Pointing to a motherboard that had been dried by this company, that then later decayed and shorted in multiple places due to the deposits left behind after drying the board out.
No matter where you are on the hate - fanbois scale of Apple appreciation, you should check out his vids, as they tell it as it is.
Last time I repaired some hardware, I did just remove the faulty capacitor and replace it with a new one. A lot cheaper than buying a new monitor, or getting an authorised board swap.
A friend I know was one of the few people in my area that would undertake board level repairs for some things like re-capping boards, replacing broken power connectors, etc. he's also re-built LCD screens entirely, although that's a very tricky thing (mostly to replace the backlight tube on pre-led screens), and he gave that up because it was so fiddly.
"he's also re-built LCD screens entirely, although that's a very tricky thing"
This particular LCD monitor was sealed, so I had to crack it open before repairing it. Now I keep it closed with a couple of wing nuts and bolts through two holes carefully drilled through the case. I call it my Frankenstein monitor.
he's also re-built LCD screens entirely, although that's a very tricky thing (mostly to replace the backlight tube on pre-led screens), and he gave that up because it was so fiddly.
Ugh, I've replaced a backlight on a laptop screen before, it was NOT fun, not at all. Imagine a flourescent bulb the width of your laptop screen, but 1/8" in diameter (or less). Usually hidden under sticky foil tape at the bottom edge of the display. Fortunately, the next time I had to fix taht screen, it was a cracked panel, so I just replaced the entire assembly.
Repairing circuit boards is really not that big of a deal. Id encourage you to get a solder trainer board (*) and learn it... its an extremely rewarding skill and opens up some amazing hobby and career opportunities.
I've really never had an employee who could not get at least to the point of soldering leaded quad flatpack components. Most could do leadless QFP. Ball grid arrays, alas, requires some rather pricey kit and specialist training.
The only thing I'd caution is that life is too short to skimp on good tools. A decent soldering station (Metcal or Pace) and a good binocular microscope are a must. Also, take the time to make sure your work area is ergonomic.
(*) or go on oshpark.com ... go to the 'sharing' tab, and order a circuit board that does something fun rather than just a practice board.
Contracts do not supersede the law. For example, you cannot sign away your consumer rights in the UK just by opening a software package where all the details are wrapped in the cellophane, the opening of which means 'you agree to this contract' etc.
About time these shady practices were kicked into the long grass. Now, if only we could sort out planned obsolescence - that should be outlawed too for environmental reasons alone.
Aren't these all really just things that make it a pain to repair without actually stopping it? Digital signatures and the like within "approved parts" stops you repairing if there is another source, but you won't find them for custom silicon as making them would be an IP violation.
Unique screw head types - a bit of a pain until drivers become available.
Glue - more a cost / space saving approach that makes it a pain to repair.
Soldering - I'm guessing this is about soldered cables vs connectors. Connectors take a lot of space and introduce a potential source of unreliabilty (which can be much reduced by using higher-cost items). I do think that consumables (e.g. batteries) should not be soldered.
New screw head designs: Electronics are getting smaller and thinner, so manufacturers want to use as little space for screws as possible. So they are using smaller screws and the head of the screw is made from thinner metal, existing screw heads don't work very well at these small sizes and with such thin metal on the head..
Glue: Makes construction simpler, allows the design to not need screw nuts thereby eliminating stress risers from the design of the body making the device more study and durable.
Soldering: The points you mentioned.
Indeed. At one point in time, if a "switch" in your logic unit went, you could unplug that valve and replace it. Got a bit harder when you had to unsolder the transistor and replace it... then of course you could swap out that 16-pin DIL package using a chip extractor/pin straightener/insertion tool... Then you had to invest in a SMT desoldering tool... and so on and so forth...
I wasn't jesting! The point I was making was the precedent in miniaturisation increasing the difficulty of repair. Going from discrete transistors to integrated circuits meant that if only one gate in an 8-gate array failed, you threw away the 7 good ones in replacing the component. Now we are not quite at the point yet where the screen is photogravured onto the same wafer as the processor, the LCD driver, the power components, the CCD etc etc. but that will come before too long, and at that point the integration of functions into a single manufactured component will signal the true and pure disposable, irreparable, phone.
Oh, and do you have a link for chipped vales? They sound fascinating!
Here you go- this is a bit nontechnical but it gets the point across:
I have some actual papers on this, but alas I'm on travel and armed only with a landfill Android. If more is needed reply and I will dig up the links when I return to civilization.
"New screw head designs"
Can be copyrighted, Once you own the copyright, you can control production - and prevent "non-authorised entities" getting hold of them.
Not that this is new. IBM PC XTs had "special" screws on the PSUs (no slots, notches or other things to undo, courtesy of a snapoff head) back in 1980. The only way to get them apart was to dremel a slot into the screw and then throw it away afterwards.
There's a whole range of security screws out there with highly limited distribution and "control" over who has the tools. On top of Philips/Posidrive there are another dozen crosshead types alone. (Hint: Japanese cars use neither)
In the insane political climate of the currently insane USA, a twinkling of what actually made America great is still shining, like a fire long gone out, but the embers of which are still smoldering.
There is still hope that we will once again have in this world a country that is truly with freedom and justice for all, it's just that, right now, there's a heavy layer of bullshit covering it all up.
a twinkling of what actually made America great is still shining
Some of it has always been great, some of it has always been shit. For example, California is the world's fifth largest economy and half of the kids are on food stamps. The country has great universities and but a sub-standard eductation system.
Trump is a moron but the country has a proud history of them competing for and sometimes getting into office. I shudder to think of what would have happened if Barry Goldwater had become president. Or Newt Gingrich. Or Rick Santorum. And Sarah Palin could have become VEEP.
What's the legal status of the US Copyright Office?
AIUI, the US has governments (federal and state) that make law, and courts that enforce it. Where does the "Copyright Office" fit into that structure?
Presumably the power to make such a ruling must be delegated to it by the federal government? Does that override anything the state governments might say or do? Or is it an agency of both federal and state governments at once?
And what if the Courts think differently? Doesn't it still effectively boil down to who has the deepest pockets to fee(d) the lawyers and argue their way to their chosen outcome?
"Presumably the power to make such a ruling must be delegated to it by the federal government?"
Not really, the US Supreme Court gets it's power to overrule congress because the US Supreme Court ruled that they should have such power.
In the US agencies just do whatever they want and if a few years later somebody objects they just try and say "Well you didn't object when we started" as some sort of defense, if they get away with it long enough they get to keep the power to do whatever they were doing.
“On the one hand, this would stop parts – such as the keyboard – from being swapped out for backdoored gear.
Of good grief. Like this is actually a serious threat. If it’s more than 0.1% of keyboards swaps I’d be surprised. The vast majority of repairs are genuine a some numpty has spilled something on the keyboard, or they were crap keyboards in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, hardware has been hacked for nefarious reasons, it’s just not a sufficiently large problem to be a legitimate excuse to prevent repairs.
I'd expect the threat to start rising as crime goes digital but perhaps other approaches are possible. A software-based approach with a good microphone will almost certainly be able to work as well as a key-tracker but swapping out the USB ports for something akin to a skimming device could be appealing to some.
IMO the USA laws on Copyright are technically illegal in International agreements.
DRM and DMCA are an abuse of Corporate power. We all pay for the royalties of HDCP in things with HDMI. Also DRM doesn't stop commercial piracy, it takes away users rights.
It's a start. However DMCA needs to be killed and DRM made illegal worldwide.
The Corporate grab on extending copyright needs to be reversed too!
For me would never buy Apple, never have never will mainly cos they will screw you over and you only pay for the name and not the hardware, yes they use clever software to get the most out of their propriety kit just like Games consoles do. But being a techie since well 1981 i suppose, i just always preferred to know what I am buying and can upgrade to stretch the life out of my kit - This was obviously when PC's came about, so I just never like Apple products. Finally if i dont like a product I dont buy it or dont buy it a second time. I dont use MS Windows anymore due to spying and MS's attitude to customers so I use Linux. I would never buy Apple due to their bad attitude to customer repairs. But there are so many lemming's out there buy Apple ! It really makes me laugh when people complain and then go and buy the next product from Apple again !!!!
It is fashionable not to own anything. This generation of numpties think its great to buy stuff and not own it, I had an argument with a sibling about modding and repairing stuff you own. He put up the defence that your gear was not really yours and the manufacturer somehow still owned it and could alter it after sale as they see fit. He's quite happy being shafted as in his mind that is how things work. Thankfully the next gen of kids will rebel and insist that owning and control is good just to piss off their parents. Meanwhile these fools will die owning nothing, not even the music they listen too.
And to the others pointing out that new electronics need glue and fancy screws, maybe. But that doesn't explain the DRM spread thickly on top to stop you even opening the case to peak inside. Or extending the life of your stuff by modding.
"For me would never buy Apple, never have never will mainly cos they will screw you over and you only pay for the name and not the hardware."
My experience with Apple Hardware is it makes a great gift.
For my friends who don't want to walk around with a $500 watch, my old Series 1 earned me an abundance of gratitude.
"need to borrow my truck this weekend?"
I want the 4. Now I know who to give my series 3 to.
I do want a new Macbook Pro someday. The 2012's are heavy...
"It might be worth a lot less if it just plain didn't work coz you didn't fix it. So might be worth a shot. Paperweights are worth less than working phones."
You can always get an "out-of-warranty" repair, which consists of taking your old phone and handing you a new (refurbished) one. If you botch your non-working iPhone to the point where they refuse an "out-of-warranty" repair, then you did indeed cost yourself a lot of money.
(My wife's first iPhone was given to her by a relative, complete with broken screen and speaker not working, we took it to the Apple Store, paid £140 for an "out-of-warranty" repair and she had a new phone. Much cheaper and better than repairing it).
It only retains value if I have confidence you didn't do anything to it that would cause it to burst into flames.
Ever walk through a house in a recently constructed neighborhood and realize someone watched too many DIY shows, spent too many weekends at WalMart, and now the house looks visibly unsafe?
Apple leases handsets. New one every year. What could possibly go wrong?
I am all for fixing stuff if it's broken rather than throwing it away. Only today I have just opened up a battery pack for a laptop where the battery was not holding a charge and replaced the 3.7V cells inside. I did break a few of the clips to get the thing opened as the manufacture decided to clip it together rather than hold it together with screws, but I saved myself about £40 off the price of an original battery, so it was worth the 45 minute it took me to do and a bit of hot glue will seal it back up.
In a nod to right-to-repair efforts, Google is partnering with iFixit to offer spare parts for its Pixel smartphones dating all the way back to 2017.
Genuine Pixel parts will be in stock for iFixit customers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and EU countries that sell Pixels "later this year." Parts will be available for devices as old as the Pixel 2 through 2021's Pixel 6 Pro, "as well as future Pixel models," Google said today.
Available parts include "everything you need for the most common Google Pixel Repairs – batteries, displays, cameras and more," iFixit said. The repair howto site will be selling parts individually, and as part of its Fix Kits that include necessary pieces and tools needed to perform specific repair processes.
Apple's latest and greatest – the Mac Studio – has come under the gaze of teardown merchants, iFixit. The good news? There might be hope for storage swappers. The bad news? Everything else.
The Mac Studio looks for all the world like a Mac Mini that has enjoyed a growth spurt. The block of aluminum is just over twice the height of Apple's entry-level desktop and is positively festooned with ports. A farewell to the "dongleverse" that has blighted the life of many an Apple fan.
The fearless iFixit website has taken its tools to the M1-powered 2021 MacBook Pro and come away with a repairability score that will be of no surprise to followers of Apple's pricey hardware.
While taking a moment to marvel at the number of ports that have returned to the company's flagship laptop (USB-C, HDMI, headphone jack, and SD card reader), the crew was heartened to find no adhesive securing the rear plate – once the proprietary pentalobe screws had been dealt with, that is.
Inside, iFixit noted that the chassis was crammed wall to wall with speakers and batteries, as well as a "robust-looking" fan setup.
Apple's seventh-gen Watch has managed to maintain its iFixit repairability rating on a par with the last model – unlike its smartphone sibling.
The iFixit team found the slightly larger display of the latest Apple Watch a boon for removal via heat and a suction handle. Where the previous generation required a pair of flex folds in its display, the new version turned out to be simpler, with just the one flex.
Things are also slightly different within the watch itself. Apple's diagnostic port has gone and the battery is larger. That equates to a slight increase in power (1.094Wh from 1.024Wh between 40mm S6 and 41mm S7) which, when paired with the slightly hungrier display, means battery life is pretty much unchanged.
Apple has said it will stop making life difficult for anyone replacing a broken iPhone 13 screen with a third-party display and wishing to retain Face ID support.
As iFixit pointed out at the end of September, if you swap out the screen in an iPhone 13, Pro or non-Pro, with a third-party replacement, you'll be left with Face ID authentication disabled.
"Any display replacement knocks out Face ID," the repair house noted in its teardown of the latest iPhone. "It looks like the display is serial-locked to the phone. Unless Apple revises this behavior in software, screen replacements outside Apple's authorized repair lose all Face ID functionality."
Updated It wasn't only eager fanbois awaiting their Apple deliveries last week - teardown terror iFixit also got its hands on the iPhone 13 Pro and did what it does best.
The team took on the 128GB version of Apple's A15-powered iPhone 13 Pro, replete with 6GB RAM, a 6.1-inch (2,532x1,170 pixel) screen and 12MP triple camera system.
Prising open the phone in a similar way to the iPhone 12 Pro revealed a worryingly flimsy combined digitiser and display cable, and an L-shaped battery.
Summer is often referred to as "The Silly Season" and so it was with delight that we noted the iFixit team had turned their screwdrivers onto the gaming nostalgia-fest that is the upcoming Playdate.
The colourful little handheld (colourful except for the screen) is a welcome respite from the likes of the Nintendo Switch and upcoming Steam Deck. No eye-wateringly high resolution and blistering refresh rates here. The Playdate is a throwback to a simpler time, and a reminder of our much-missed Nintendo Game Boy (sadly the victim of a short drop onto unforgiving concrete many decades ago).
iFixit has published a preliminary teardown of the M1 iPad Pro, touted by Apple as a potential crossover, combining the portability of a tablet with the unbridled power of the same processor used in the MacBook Pro. But take a look at its innards and you'll find things largely appear the same.
As was the case with previous iPad Pro tablets, the avenue of ingress was through the display. This required iFixit to melt the adhesive flanking the sides with a gentle application of heat, and pulling it up using a heavy-duty suction cup, taking care to keep the display open with a few carefully placed plectrums.
We’ve crossed the point where teardowns of Apple’s computers cease to be a genuine assessment of fixability, and become an intellectual exercise into seeing how they’re built. iFixit’s preliminary teardown of the 24-inch M1 iMac is a good example of this.
As expected, it’s just as unservicable as all the other M1 Macs, with soldered storage (in this case, a 128GB Kioxia NAND module) and RAM located on the processor package (namely two SK Hynix LPDDR4x modules).
Whereas the previous Intel iMacs allowed some degree of upgradability, the Apple Silicon variant ultimately does not. No surprises here. These are where the winds have shifted industry-wide.
It's a sad, pointless, and frankly wasteful cycle. You buy a phone. Two years later, you buy another. The old phone goes into a drawer, where it sits until you eventually get around to recycling it.
In 2017, Samsung proposed breaking this cycle with its "Galaxy Upcycling" scheme. The premise was simple: turn that antiquated, unsupported blower into something useful, like a water quality sensor for a fish tank. The company even teamed up with right-to-repair advocacy group iFixit to promote the idea, with its CEO Kyle Wiens announcing the project at Samsung's developer event.
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